How Dominoes Are Used


A domino is a small rectangular block of wood or plastic, each side bearing either a blank surface or a series of dots resembling those on dice. It is used to play a variety of games in which one domino can knock down another domino, and so on, until all the dominoes have fallen.

Dominoes can also be used to create artistic designs, such as straight lines or curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, and even 3D structures like towers and pyramids. Artists use different types of adhesives to hold the dominoes together, and can even paint them to make the design more interesting.

Hevesh has been making domino art for over thirty years, and her process involves carefully planning out each section of her creation before she begins building. First, she tests each part of her work by setting it up in a small, flat arrangement. She then films each section in slow motion, and makes adjustments as needed. Once the smaller 3-D sections are working, she moves on to the larger ones.

The most popular domino game is simply to place a domino edge to edge against another domino so that its adjacent faces are identical or form some specified total. The resulting chains of dominoes are then knocked over in turn. The player who plays the last domino wins that round. There are many variations of these basic games, including blocking and scoring games such as matador, chicken foot, and Mexican train. Some of these games duplicate card games and were once used in places where religious proscriptions against playing cards were in force.

Most Western domino sets contain 28 dominoes, but bigger ones are available. These “extended” sets include dominoes with additional ends, each of which increases the maximum number of pips on an end by three. Normally, each extended set adds 12 to the total number of possible combinations of ends and thus tiles. The most common extended sets are double-nine (55 tiles) and double-twelve (91 tiles).

The word “domino” is also used figuratively, to refer to an effect that can be expected to follow another event, for example the domino theory that predicted that if the United States increased its support of Ngo Dinh Diem’s regime in South Vietnam and non-communist forces fighting in Laos, Communist North Vietnam would quickly gain strength. This prediction proved to be correct, although the domino effect was less dramatic than it might have been had Kennedy not backed off his initial commitment in response to domestic opposition to Diem’s government.

A popular game with children and adults alike, domino is a great way to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It can be played in teams or individually, and is an excellent educational tool for teaching numbers, colors, and shapes. In fact, some schools now require their students to play domino as part of their learning curriculum. It is also a great party game and can be used to promote social interaction and teamwork.